Impeachment complaints against President Rodrigo Duterte are “baseless,” Malacañang said on Friday, July 5.
In response to criticism over Duterte’s handling of the Recto Bank incident, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told media that any impeachment raps against the president may not have any merit.
“An impeachment not only is misplaced, it is absolutely baseless in fact and in law. The President is fealty to his sworn oath under the Constitution of serving and protecting the Filipino people, who, in turn, have given the highest satisfaction, approval, performance and trust ratings in political polling history,” Panelo said.
Panelo asserted that the president was, in fact, protecting the Philippines by not escalating the situation with China and that he was “honoring our country’s constitutional obligation of observing amity with our neighboring states in conformity with our treaties and international conventions, as well as customary international law.”
“As a friendly advice, we suggest that these people first conduct a reality check to avoid embarrassment,” Panelo added.
Earlier this week, Malacañang assured that the president’s critics would not be arrested for filing an impeachment complaint after Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said the PNP was ready to arrest those who do so.
Panelo said Duterte’s threat to jail his critics was just an “expression of displeasure, disappointment.”
“It is a righteous indignation. He could not understand why critics and detractors cannot appreciate what he’s doing. He’s doing this because he is following the directive of the Constitution to serve and protect the people. We want to avoid any armed [struggles] between two countries because that will endanger the security of the nation,” he said.
Last week, Duterte challenged his critics pushing for his impeachment and threatened to jail them should they file an impeachment complaint against him.
The president has been drawing criticism for taking a softer stance over the sinking of a Filipino boat at the Recto (Reed) Bank on June 9 as well as for saying that he would not ban China from fishing in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Albayalde, meanwhile, clarified his statement and said that it would be an immediate arrest.
“There should be an investigation. You cannot just point to anybody and then get them. There will always be an investigation before you can make an arrest,” the PNP chief said.